Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Backup, Backup, Backup #3

Mirror Folder (Windows Only)

review note by Uwe Steinmueller (3/6/2005)



We hope you see the need of backup your photos. Because images need a lot of storage one very important backup technique is to mirror data. There are two basic approaches:

One of the best solutions we know is MirrorFolder by Techsoft (sorry PC only). We use MirrorFolder now for nearly a year and had no real problems. MirrorFolder is working more like a driver than a normal backup software. Once installed you access MirrorFolder via the Windows File Browser context menu (entry "Mirroring..."):

Actually MirrorFolder is very easy to use. Let's assume you want to mirror folder "d:\_travel_portfolios_2005" to "m:\_travel_portfolios_2005".

1. Select the source folder "d:\_travel_portfolios_2005" and activate the "Mirroring..." menu:

Here you can do the following:

  • Select one ore more folders and add them to your list of target folders
  • Include or exclude all subfolders
  • You can exclude folders of file types from mirroring (we have not used this so far)

Once you hit ok MirrorFolder will create an initial copy of the folder and keep it current from then on (in real-time, see below)

2. Select the target folder "m:\_travel_portfolios_2005" and again use the activate "Mirroring..." menu. This time you see a different menu:

There are two principle different modes:

  • Real-time
  • Auto-sync

a) Real-time (the default): MirrorFolder uses Windows APIs to ensure that the copies are replicated in real-time. What you have here is actually a soft raid?

  • You may prevent that file deletes also get mirrored

b) Auto-sync

If you select the auto-sync option a new menu shows up:

Auto-sync performs the mirroring based on timing (e.g. every two hours). There are many options you can set using the "Sync. Options" dialog.

You can imagine that setting up MirrorFolder is a snap. After that the solution just works without bothering you anymore.


We would not like to miss MirrorFolder for our work.

Highly Recommended

You get MirrorFolder from Techsoft.

Mirroring to offline disks

Veit Irtenkauf sent us the following addition:

"MirrorFolder works very nicely with external hard-drives in both real time and auto-sync mode. In both modes, the external hard-drive can be disconnected at any time. While it is disconnected, Mirror Folder keeps track of all the changes that were made to the original folder, including file or sub folder deletions. Once the external drive is reconnected, Mirror Folder immediately (in real time mode) or at the next interval (in auto-sync mode) synchronizes
all the changes that were made to the original folder, thus ensuring integrity of the mirrored folder. This works for one folder, many folders or even an entire drive. You can even use the same external drive to mirror folders on more than one PC. Just set MirrorFolder to "Real Time", connect the external drive to one PC at a time, and all the changes are synchronized immediately.

However, you cannot take the original folder offline and then make modifications to the mirrored older, since it is locked (unless you switch off the setting "Prevent direct file modifications")."

We also use this technique quite often.


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